The ELvis remote visualization cluster is meant to provide remote rendering capabilities for users wanting to perform (interactive) visualization of datasets stored at SURFsara, e.g. simulation output from a compute job on Cartesius. The user runs visualization applications on the ELvis nodes at SURFsara instead of on their local desktop machine.
This has a number of advantages:
- The data to be visualized can be read directly from the storage at SURFsara, without having to be transferred to the user's local machine. Only a desktop image is transfered to the user, using VNC.
- Multiple ELvis nodes can be used in parallel to provide increased visualization capabilities, in terms of GPU power and available memory. Note that this mode of usage requires application support.
- A stack of visualization software is maintained by SURFsara, freeing you, the user, from having to spend time on this issue. In principal, user-written applications based on OpenGL are also supported.
Note that the RVS cluster is meant for providing interactive GPU-accelerated visualization, not for performing batch-oriented GPU-accelerated computations.
Using the remote visualization service more or less follows the following workflow:
- The user logs in on the ELvis login node and reserves one or more nodes
- After reservation is successful (usually instantaneous, if nodes are available) a VNC server will have been started on one of the nodes
- The user connects to the VNC server
- From the remote desktop the user launches the preferred visualization application and loads his/her data. The output of the hardware-accelerated rendering on the ELvis node is transparently captured, integrated into the VNC image stream, which is sent in compressed form through the VNC connection.